An empty, scorched red desert. A swarm of bats swooping closer, until all we see are their orange-red eyes, filling up the panel window. But what’s this? Herald of trumpets (I mean, starburst pattern) Amos Deathridge has arrived! A full page knight, with armor and red cape, but cowboy, with gun and steed, Amos rides in to save us right when our anxiety reaches tipping point. And before we know who he is—a patriarchal monster—we’re happy to see him come.
Location matters in writer, Kevin Gunstone, and artist, Paul Moore’s Planet of Daemons from Amigo Comics and, thanks to Stefan Mrkonjic’s strong color palettes, we’re never confused about where we are. Using cornflower blues and yellows to signal 17th century New England, and red browns to signal the Qliphoth, the series flips back and forth along Amos’ timeline in both places.
The Qliphoth is Amos’ present, patrolling the tunnels between Hell and Earth to ensure malevolent spirits don’t corrupt weak humans.
Massachusetts is Amos’ Magistrate past, exposing and punishing witches found at fault for the plague in his community.
Once a jailer, always a jailer, but the righteousness of fighting demons doesn’t carry over to pinched faced old ladies who can’t pass rigged witch assessments, or own a cat without flaring superstition. As the abusive, religious leader we’ve come to expect from stories about Salem, Amos makes a show of requiring evidence but alters his convictions for the right information. Question him and you’re a witch. Agree with him and your protection is secure for as long as it’s convenient. In one excellent transition, Amos talks about “barter[ing] words” with a daemon, then charges a woman for making a deal with the devil. How does this higher than thou, two-faced bully become Earth’s protector from Hell?
The answer involves a betrayal but ‘by who’ is a building reveal. Issue two focuses on the birth of a succubus, Lord Eligos’ intended bride. The Spirit of War, Moore’s design for Eligos is fascinating, a red face that doesn’t match his blue body or, for that matter, look attached to his head—like a helmet or mask that he wears, but it’s his face.
There’s a few sequences where cause and effect are fuzzy, like how the succubus falls unconscious or who slaps who outside a town hall. Unlike the blond Amos, some of the darker haired puritans are difficult to tell apart unless called by name, but Gunstone’s names are so suggestive they bear repeating: Deathridge; Judge Jolly; Widow Barebones; Amos’ wife, (holy) Trinity.
Entering Eligos’ labyrinth with the freshly hatched succubus on his horse (nude, that’s gotta be uncomfortable), Amos’ reasons for chaperoning are disguised, but there’s a maze, and a castle, “and there is no turning back.”
Available to purchase HERE.